In the spotlight
Local drama enthusiasts were on stage during the Koncerts for Kids performance of Treasure Island Page A3
The Koncerts 4 Kids presentation of the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s musical, Treasure Island, was a delight for the appreciative audiences and all the children who were fortunate enough to be chosen to participate.
MCT’s Treasure Island is a play crafted carefully to ensure success through the company’s mandate of involving local children in their touring drama productions.
With auditions taking place Mondays and the plays presented Fridays, the music, lyrics, speaking parts and staging have to be easy to learn and flexible enough to allow for an occasional glitch or case of stage fright.
Presley Reddekopp was well-cast as young Jim Hawkins, a new experience for her because of the number and duration of her speaking parts and also the fact that she was cast in a boy’s role.
“It was really fun,” said Reddekop. “I just love acting. I don’t do it that often, but it was really good. It took a lot of work. We learned it in five days, so that was pretty new.” She admitted it was challenging to play the role of Jim. “I had to try my hardest to be a boy, and still be a girl.”
Katie’B Jarvis, tour director and actor who played Long Jane Silver (wife of the dearly departed Long John Silver), was on-stage throughout the production, either in-role or as salty narrator, to ensure that any forgotten lines were smoothed over with the least amount of embarrassment to the children as possible.
The play was innovative on all fronts, from the beautiful quick-change set designs to the inclusion of 35 extras (18 Villagers and 17 Seagulls) to give as many children as possible the lifechanging experience of a live stage production.
Pianist Elaine Driedger, who also accompanied last year’s inaugural MCT production, said the music for Treasure Island was less challenging to play, but easy for the kids to learn.
“It’s really quite amazing to see the production come together day by day. Katie’B is terrific with the kids. By mid-week, she knew everyone’s names,” Driedger noted.
As the story unfolded, the seagulls endeared themselves to the audience and individual characterizations quickly emerged in both the flock of birds and the crowd of villagers. The Pirates, Cap’n Patches (Taylor Bezanson), Davey the Letterman (Gage Haubrich), Sing Sing Sam (Rebecca Treen), Goldie the Hun (Kayden Funk), and the trio of Rosie Red (Faith Wall), Whitey (Austin Shopa) and Big Ol’ Blue (Raisa Stadnyk) offered well developed interpretations that continued to evolve as the play unfolded.
Jim’s Mother Hawkins (Desiree Leonard) capably schooled Jim’s sisters Jeannie (Hanna Torgrimson), Janie (Dakota Leonard), Jennie (Allison Luchenski), Joanie (Kennedy ChooFoo), Jinnie (Kacie Auger) and Jan (Cierra Kohls) in the art of “Service With a Smile” as hostesses of the family’s Whalesbreath Inn, while secretly conspiring with them to watch out for their wayward brother.
Jim Hawkins’ rakish friends, cast as The Ruffians (Cassidy Duquette, Luke Wilson and Elliott Gross), happily followed Jim to sea with Long Jane and her Pirates.
After a bit of intrigue, the play came to a satisfying conclusion when Cap’n Flint, Silver’s long lost parrot, is reunited with the crew and the “Treasure” is revealed to be the spirit of cooperation needed to achieve a common goal.
Five “Jolly Rogers” go to Koncerts 4 Kids, their corporate and in-kind sponsors, Missoula Children’s Theatre co-founder Jim Caron (writer) and Executive Director Michael McGill (composer), and everyone who helped to make this production a fresh and lively delight that is certain to inspire a new generation of actors in the Swift Current region.
An accord is reached! Cap’n Long Jane Silver convinces young Jim Hawkins to bring his treasure map and his Ruffian friends on an adventure to Treasure Island.